Mayor Harold Perrin of Jonesboro confirmed the tornado injured six individuals after it tore through the town. The National Weather service issued a tornado warning at 4:47pm and it touched down just minutes later.
The Mall at Turtle Creek took the brunt of the damage from the tornado, but few people were inside at the time because most stores were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“At 5 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon that place would’ve been packed, and at this point there was hardly anyone in there,” Jonesboro E-911 Director Jeff Presley said, according to Fox News. “It’s a blessing in disguise.”
A nearby Best Buy store was rendered unrecognisable by the tornado.
The local airport also experienced damage with at least one aeroplane being overturned and hangers badly damaged.
Images on social media showed the flattened walls of the building the tornado left behind.
The town is home to about 75,000 people, and those who were injured were taken to the hospital for treatment for minor injuries.
Residents were ordered to stay inside after the tornado while workers cleared the debris from streets and other public areas in the town.
Tornados also touched down in other parts of Arkansas and Iowa on Saturday but did not cause near the same amount as damage as the one in Jonesboro.